Taking Sutrah in Salah

A: Offering Salah (Prayer) behind a Sutrah is an act of Sunnah whether while traveling or not, in obligatory or supererogatory prayers, in a Masjid (mosque) or not, for the general meaning of the Hadith: When one of you prays, he should face a sutrah and should keep close to it. Related by Abu Dawud with a good chain of transmission. It has been recorded by Al-Bukhari and Muslim on the authority of Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) that The spear was fixed for the Prophet (peace be upon him) on the ground. He stepped forward and offered two Rak`ah of Zhuhr, while there passed in front of him a donkey and a dog, and these were not checked. It is recorded by Muslim on the authority of Talhah ibn `Ubaydullah who said that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: When one of you places in front of him something such as the back of a saddle, he should pray without caring who passes on the other side of it. Drawing near the Sutrah is an act of Sunnah as indicated by the previously mentioned Hadith. The Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet) used to hurry to the pillars of the Masjid (Part No. 7; Page No. 77) to offer the supererogatory prayers. It has not been proven that they would place boards in front of them as a Sutrah while praying in the Masjid. However, they used to pray in front of walls or pillars. There should not be excessiveness regarding this matter as the Shari`ah is flexible, and whoever makes the religion a rigor, it will overpower him. The Sutrah is only desirable and not an obligatory act for it has been authentically reported that The Prophet (peace be upon him) led people in prayer at Mina and there was no wall in front of him. And the Hadith did not mention that he placed a sutrah in front of him. It has been related by Imam Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and Al-Nasa'y on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with them both) that The Prophet (peace be upon him) offered Salah in an open place, having nothing (i.e. sutrah) in front of him. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.